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Remembering the Sebastian Janikowski pick

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Al Davis shocked the world 20 years ago

Buffalo Bills v Oakland Raiders
Sebastian Janikowski
Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Thanks to my good, longtime friend Mike Sando, we have an excuse to remember the great Seabass.

It was 20 years ago Wednesday that the Raiders, well, Al Davis, stunned the NFL by taking Florida State kicker Sebastian Janikowski with the No. 17 overall draft ick.

It was unexpected, it was bold, it was shocking It was all Al Davis.

I’ll never forget it. I was covering the Green Bay Packers at a daily newspaper in Wisconsin at the time. I was at Lambeau Stadium, doing some interviews when the pick went down.

The whole building started to buzz.

A kicker?

It was unheard of. Janikowski was the first placekicker in the modern era to be taken in the first round. He remains the only one. There were three punters tone in the first round in the 1970s, including when the Raiders took Ray Guy in 1973. There have been just three kickers taken in the second or third round in since the Seabass stunner. It is not expected to happen this year, either.

You can’t say it didn’t work out for the Raiders, though. Janikowski could join Guy in the Hall of Fame someday.

Janikowski played 18 seasons for the Raiders. He was a known for his big leg. He is the Raiders’ all-time leading scorer with 1,799 points,

Did the Raiders whiff on anyone by taking Janikowski?

The name that stands out is running back Shaun Alexander. He was taken two spots later by Seattle and went on to become an NFL MVP. He would have surely been a nice facet of Jon Gruden’s offense.

But, in the end, Janikowski gave the Raiders 18 years of service. How can you complain about that?